I thought this was such a clever series. It’s one thing doing a modern update; I’ve read plenty of those, but this also had to work within some limitations. Firstly, the perspective is quite limited – these are Lizzie’s videos and very much seen through her filter. Secondly, the videos were being posted online from the outset, which some people know, and others find out throughout the course of the videos. Some characters we don’t see in person, and Lizzie does some ‘costume theatre’ to play their roles, which I found really funny, particularly her interpretation of her mother, complete with hat. There was also content in other platforms, such as twitter accounts of the characters that you could follow etc. Although obviously modernised, the main story points of Pride & Prejudice were all identifiable in the events the videos report.
For me, the aspect that changed most from the story Pride & Prejudice, which comes across particularly well in the videos, was the character of Lydia. She was a much more developed character than most Lydias in modernised versions. She’s a real party girl as you’d expect, but she takes her sisters’ opinions of her more to heart than they realise. She is loud, energetic and brash – but she is also funny, loving and observant and generally pretty adorable, if a little manic! She is quite lonely too, and is absolutely ripe for manipulation by George Wickham. He is completely ruthless here, and the majority of the blame for the event representing Lydia’s elopement in P&P lies with George. He is worse than Wickham in P&P in my eyes, as this George purposely intends to harm Lydia, which is a crime I would acquit original Wickham of, although his actions were obviously reprehensible. Lydia’s reaction to the event is very different to Pride & Prejudice’s Lydia too. This Lydia shows genuine remorse which goes a long way to securing your goodwill towards her, if you didn’t already love her.
Mr Bennet is represented via costume theatre in the vlog, but he makes appearances in Lizzie’s diary and his reaction to the Mr Collins situation renewed my appreciation for one aspect of the original Mr Bennet’s personality – the fact that he doesn’t try to force his daughter into marriage and actively discourages her from a match that will make her miserable. Here, the marriage offer is instead a job offer that would see Lizzy have to give up her degree in its final year. It would be desirable from a financial perspective as the Bennets are undergoing financial difficulties and Lizzie would no longer need to rely on her parents. LBD Mr Bennet’s support reminded me that, just as in Pride & Prejudice, Mr Bennet may not have done all the financial things as he should have but he doesn’t intend that his daughters should pay the price while he’s still able to prevent it.
Mr Collins is also reimagined from his Pride & Prejudice counterpart – rather than an unctuous sycophant he is here quite a sweet man, although he is still verbose and pompous. I got pretty fond of Ricky Collins, and you never expect to get fond of Mr Collins in Pride & Prejudice updates!
available on YouTube so all you need to do is make the time to go and watch them! For those people who’ve already watched the videos there are couple of new videos to celebrate the release of the book so make sure you catch those!
My thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for providing me with the ARC of this book for review.